A superb DVD and way better than the studio album!!!
According to keyboarder Kipper's statement on this DVD, the original studio album took 1 year to complete. Unfortunately this "effort" can be heard in most songs resulting in a completely over-produced album. (The songs just don't "breathe" and tend to suffocate under the sheer weight of too many layers of sound...)
This DVD is the complete opposite: All the songs were re-arranged in view of the coming Sacred Love tour and recorded during rehearsals and live performances in front of a test audience. It is the sparseness of the new arrangements that revealed the beauty of the songs. "Dead man's rope" for example has such an emotional impact that I was wept when I first heard this new version of the song. The arrangements on this DVD are so subtle and refined - it is beyond belief...
It was a wise decision to do the recordings without the use of a large drum kit and to add some percussions by the marvellous Rhani Krija instead.
After having listened to this DVD dozens of times I still discover new aspects and subtleties and get the occasional shiver down my spine (which is so rare in music nowadays). I am all struck by Stings compositional finesse, how he always puts some twists and changes in his songs - both harmonically and lyrically - and how he does tell a story...
Compared to the test concerts on this DVD the Sacred Love concert in Zurich/Switzerland was a disappointment. Any subtleties that remained were obliterated by the sonic range of the drum kit and a band that played way too loud. Just what Sting tried to avoid in the first place (according to the interviews on the DVD) was jettisoned. With one exception: Joy Rose performing Mary J. Blige's part in "whenever I say your name" was pure salvation and better than the original recording.
I highly recommend this DVD and discourage anyone from purchasing the inferior CD...
10 / 10
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